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HC issues notice to Jet Airways' boss

The Bombay High Court issues the notice following a PIL alleging him of nexus with underworld dons, reports Urvi Mahajani.

india Updated: Jun 21, 2007 23:29 IST
Urvi Mahajani

The Bombay High Court on Thursday issued notice to Naresh Goyal, Chairman of the Jet Airways following a public interest litigation alleging his nexus with the underworld dons Dawood Ibrahim and Chhota Shakeel. The court has also directed the concerned police officer to remain present in the court on the next date of hearing the PIL which alleges inaction on the part of the police.

The notice comes at a time when Jet Airways is gearing up to start flights from 5 Indian cities to the US. Following persistent efforts since 2005, Jet Airways managed to get permission from the US authorities to fly there. The service is likely to start by August.

The PIL filed by Fr Furquan, editor of a fortnightly Urdu newspaper Sach Bilkul Sach alleged that Goyal has illegally received huge investment from Dawood and used to acquire assets for the company.

Furquan had lodged a complaint with the Commissioner of Police on October 5, 2005. He, however alleged that no action was taken so far. Following an earlier HC order, he had attended the Andheri unit of the crime branch and submitted relevant documents last December. "However, there has been no progress in the inquiry after taking Furquan's statement,” said his lawyer KT Thomas.

Taking serious note of the alleged inaction on the part of the police, the division bench of Chief Justice Swatanter Kumar and Justice SC Dharmadhikari asked the public prosecutor Usha Kejariwal as to why no action was taken on the compliant.

"If a citizen files a complaint, you want us to make inquiries? Why have you not made any inquiries, especially when he (Furquan) is relying on documents?" questioned the chief justice.

Furquan had sent a letter written by Anjan Ghosh, Joint director of IB to Sangeeta Gairola, joint secretary, ministry of home affairs in December 2001. The letter states, "We have confirmed information of intermitten contact between Naresh Goyal and underworld Dawood Ibrahim and Chhota Shakeel to settle financial issues."

"There is strong suspicion that part of Naresh Goyal's investment may have piled up through the assistance of underworld group prominently headed by Dawood and Shakeel," adds the letter.

The HC has directed the concerned officer to remain present in the court after four weeks.

Meanwhile, spokesperson for Jet Airways issued an official statement saying, "We have so far not received any intimation from any quarter regarding any proceeding or order that may have been passed."

This is not the first time that allegations have been made against the Jet Airways Chairman. Earlier too the Enforcement Directorate had conducted an inquiry into the alleged underworld funding into the private airlines. Also, the Home Ministry had conducted an inquiry. However, both the times, nothing could be established and a clean chit was given.